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Knighthood & the Feudal System

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Author Topic: Knighthood & the Feudal System  (Read 657 times)
Sun Goddess
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« on: February 19, 2007, 12:25:39 am »

Hereditary knighthoods in Great Britain and Ireland

There are traces of the Continental system of hereditary knighthood in British usage, however. There were three hereditary knighthoods in the Kingdom of Ireland:

Knight of Glin, the Black Knight, (Fitzgerald of Limerick)
Knight of Kerry, the Green Knight, (Fitzgerald of Kerry)
The White Knight, (Fitzgibbon), now extinct.

It seems likely that the above "Palatine" hereditary knighthoods, created under the Earl of Desmond, were in some respects modeled on an archaic form of knighthood mentioned in the Chronicles of Jean Froissart (c.1337-c.1405). In Book IV, Ch. 64, we find the tale of four Irish kings being prepared to receive English knighthood. Initially, they seem dismissive of the idea, stating that they were knights already, explaining that "in Ireland, a king makes his son a knight, and should the child have lost his father, then the nearest relation." This was to take place at the age of seven years.

While "warrior orders" or "warrior clans" were described in ancient Ireland in the theoretical service of the High King or Provincial Kings, there is no evidence to support the survival of any such orders into the historical period. However, Gaelic Irish knighthood, in its archaic and hereditary context designating the untitled martial nobility, was clearly practiced well into the 14th century. One might readily extend the definition of "knight" to the "lucht tighe" or "household troop" of Irish chiefs of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. These groups of military retainers were the personal bodyguards and military leaders of Irish chiefs, and while they did not receive a particular "order" of knighthood, they may be seen as untitled nobility.

The idea of hereditary knighthood also inspired James I, to establish baronetcy. Baronets are entitled to the style Sir, are entitled to all privileges to which knights are entitled and rank above all the orders of knighthood except the Garter and the Thistle.

Malta was a British possession, and the crown recognizes Maltese hereditary knighthoods.

Military-monastic orders
For more details on this topic, see Military order.

The Seal of the Knights TemplarKnights Hospitaller, founded during the First Crusade, 1099 to present.
Order of Saint Lazarus established ca. 1100, abolished 1830.
Knights Templar, founded 1118, disbanded 1307.
Teutonic knights, founded ca. 1190, ruling Prussia until 1525.
Other orders were established in the Iberian peninsula in imitation of the orders in the Holy Land, in Avis in 1143, in Alcantara in 1156, in Calatrava in 1158, in Santiago in 1164.
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